Past Projects by Bill Cotter

Books I've Written

The descriptions in italics are from Amazon.com unless otherwise noted. Links are provided to order titles still in print. Items purchased through this site can be signed as per your request.

This page only lists my world's fair-related projects. For more details on my other work please visit my site billcotter.com.

Calendars of America (2010)

Calendars of America: The 1964-1965 New York World's Fair (2010)

The 1964-1965 New York World's Fair 2010 Calendar is based on the best-selling Arcadia Publishing title "Images of America: The 1964-1965 New York World's Fair." The 1964-1965 New York World's Fair was the largest international ever built in the United States. More than one hundred fifty pavilions and exhibits spread over six hundred forty-six acres helped the fair live up to its reputation as "the Billion-Dollar Fair." With the cold war in full swing, the fair offered visitors a refreshingly positive view of the future, mirroring the official theme: Peace through Understanding.

Arcadia Publishing adapted several of the pictures from my 2004 book "Images of America: The 1964-1965 New York World's Fair" into a calendar. It was released on May 18, 2009.



Calendars of America (2011)

Calendars of America: The 1964-1965 New York World's Fair (2011)

The photographs in this calendar were selected from Images of America: The 1964-1965 New York World's Fair.

The 2010 calendar sold well, and Arcadia commissioned a second edition. It was released on August 9, 2010.



Expo 86

Historic Canada: Vancouver's Expo 86 (2009)

To mark the 100th anniversary of the city’s founding and the arrival of the first trans-Canada train, Vancouver’s political and business leaders invited the whole world to participate in the festivities. The result was Expo ’86, and more than 22 million people came for the party. It took eight years of planning and hard work to transform a former railroad yard into a colourful showplace full of pavilions and shows for the six-month event, but those lucky enough to have been there would agree that it was worth it. Expo ’86, truly a world’s fair, included pavilions from 9 provinces and territories, 54 nations and international groups, and 3 American states. Many of Canada’s largest industries joined in, as well, to celebrate the fair’s theme, “A World in Movement, A World in Touch.” Vintage photographs recapture the fun and excitement of the largest event held to that time in British Columbia.

This book salutes Expo 86, the last world's fair held in North America. Expo 86 has long been one of my favorite fairs and I was thrilled to be able to share my collection of photographs from a great summer. I'm also thrilled that this was the first book in Arcadia's "Historic Canada" series.

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1939-40 New York World's Fair

Images of America: The 1939-1940 New York World's Fair (2009)

After enduring 10 harrowing years of the Great Depression, visitors to the 1939–1940 New York World’s Fair found welcome relief in the fair’s optimistic presentation of the “World of Tomorrow.” Pavilions from America’s largest corporations and dozens of countries were spread across a 1,216-acre site, showcasing the latest industrial marvels and predictions for the future intermingled with cultural displays from around the world. Well known for its theme structures, the Trylon and Perisphere, the fair was an intriguing mixture of technology, science, architecture, showmanship, and politics. Proclaimed by many as the most memorable world’s fair ever held, it predicted wonderful times were ahead for the world even as the clouds of war were gathering. Through vintage photographs, most never published before, The 1939–1940 New York World’s Fair recaptures those days when the eyes of the world were on New York and on the future.

This book features what many feel was the most impressive world's fair ever held. It was released on June 15, 2009 to mark the 70th anniversary of the Fair.


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1964-65 New York World's Fair book #1

Images of America: The 1964-1965 New York World's Fair (2004)

Co-written with Bill Young

The 1964-1965 New York World's Fair was the largest international exhibition ever built in the United States. More than one hundred fifty pavilions and exhibits spread over six hundred forty-six acres helped the fair live up to its reputation as "the Billion-Dollar Fair." With the cold war in full swing, the fair offered visitors a refreshingly positive view of the future, mirroring the official theme: Peace through Understanding. Guests could travel back in time through a display of full-sized dinosaurs, or look into a future where underwater hotels and flying cars were commonplace. They could enjoy Walt Disney's popular shows, or study actual spacecraft flown in orbit. More than fifty-one million guests visited the fair before it closed forever in 1965.

Released in 2004 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Fair, this book is a collection of vintage and modern photographs that celebrate the creation, life and legacy of the Fair.

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1964-65 New York World's Fair book #2

Images of America: The 1964-1965 New York World's Fair - Creation and Legacy (2008)

Co-written with Bill Young

When the gates of the 1964–1965 New York World’s Fair swung open on April 24, 1964, the first of more than 51 million lucky visitors entered, ready to witness the cutting edge of worldwide technology and progress. Faced with a disappointing lack of foreign participants due to political contention, the fair instead showcased the best of American industry and science. While multimillion-dollar pavilions predicted colonies on the moon and hotels under the ocean, other forecasts, such as the promises of computer technology, have surpassed even the most optimistic predictions of the fair.

The success of the 2004 book led to this sequel. While the first volume provided a general overview of the Fair, there just wasn't enough room to tell the whole story. This volume looks at how the Fair was conceived and built, changes made over the years, the demolition process and where remnants can be found today.

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1984 New Orleans World's Fair

Images of America: The 1984 New Orleans World's Fair (2009)

In 1984, the city of New Orleans hosted the last world’s fair held in the United States. Conceived as part of an ambitious effort to revitalize a dilapidated section of the city and establish New Orleans as a year-round tourist destination, it took more than 12 years of political intrigue and design changes before the gates finally opened. Stretching 84 acres along the Mississippi River, the fair entertained more than seven million guests with a colorful collection of pavilions, rides, and restaurants during its six-month run. While most world’s fairs lose money, the 1984 New Orleans World’s Fair had the dubious distinction of going bankrupt and almost closing early. However, the $350-million investment did succeed in bringing new life to the area, which is now home to the city’s convention center and a bustling arts district.

I am pleased to be the author of the first comprehensive book on the 1984 World's Fair. I was thrilled to gain the cooperation of many of those originally responsible for the fair and included their memories and thoughts along with research from a number of archival sources.

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1933-34 Chicago World's Fair

Images of America: Chicago's 1933-34 World's Fair - A Century of Progress (2015)

It took six years and cost $100 million, but on May 27, 1933, the gates swung open on the biggest birthday party the city of Chicago had ever seen. The Century of Progress Exposition, better known as the 1933-34 Chicago World's Fair, commemorated the amazing progress that had been made since the founding of the city just 100 years earlier. Many of America's largest companies joined with countries from around the world to showcase their histories and advertise their newest products. The road to opening day was not an easy one, with the Great Depression making it look like the fair might never be built, but thousands of small investors stepped forward to help close the financial gap. The fair went on to an unprecedented second season, and when the gates finally closed after the last of the 39 million visitors went home, it had achieved something quite rare among world's fairs: earning a profit.

Most world's fairs are sponsored by city politicians and lose money. This one was financed in large part by private citizens and was one of the most successful fairs of all time.

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Seattle's 1962 World's Fair

Images of America: Seattle's 1962 World's Fair (2010)

When the United States entered the 1960s, the nation was swept up in the Space Race as the United States and the Soviet Union competed for supremacy in rocket and satellite technologies. Cities across the country hoped to attract new aerospace companies, but the city leaders of Seattle launched the most ambitious campaign of all. They invited the whole world to visit for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, and more than nine million people took them up on the offer. A colorful collection of exhibits turned 74 acres of rundown buildings into a futuristic wonderland where dozens of countries and companies predicted life in the future. The entire city was transformed with the addition of the soaring Space Needle and the futuristic monorail. When the fair ended, the site became a complex of parks and museums that remains a vibrant part of Seattle city life today.

One more entry in this series from Arcadia Publishing. This one came out on October 11, 2010. It salutes the fair that brought us the spectacular Space Needle and Seattle's futuristic monorail.

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1964-65 New York World's Fair #3

Images of Modern America: The 1964-1965 New York World's Fair (2014)

Co-written with Bill Young

Advertised as the "Billion-Dollar Fair," the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair transformed a sleepy park in the borough of Queens into a fantasy world enjoyed by more than 51 million visitors from around the world. While many countries and states exhibited at the fair, the most memorable pavilions were built by the giants of American industry. Their exhibits took guests backward and forward in time, all the while extolling how marvelous everyday life would be through the use of their products. Many of the techniques used in these shows set the standard for future fairs and theme parks, and the pavilions that housed them remain the most elaborate structures ever built for an American fair. The 1964-1965 New York World's Fair showcases the beauty of this international spectacular through rare color photographs, published here for the first time.

Color comes to Arcadia Publishing! This book was the first entry in this new series. It was released on January 20, 2014.

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Seattle book #2

Images of Modern America: Seattle's 1962 World's Fair (2015)

In the late 1950s, Seattles civic and business leaders were worried about the city losing its dominant position as a trading partner with the lucrative Pacific Rim nations. Interested in showing off all that the city and state had to offer in the hope of gaining new business, their unlikely solution was a worlds fair, the first to be held in the United States since 1940. Other cities across the nation also competed for the honor, but Seattle surprised them all with a thoughtful and well-financed plan that would forever increase the worlds awareness of the Emerald City. More than nine million visitors came to enjoy the soaring Space Needle, the futuristic monorail, and the dozens of colorful pavilions at the fair.

There's nothing an author likes more than a call from their publisher asking if they would like to write another book. Well, except for the royalty checks. My 2008 book sold so well that the publisher asked for a new color version, and here it is! It's completely different than the earlier volume. The book went on sale on December 21, 2015.

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Spokane's Expo 74

Images of Modern America: Spokane's Expo '74 (2017)

In the late 1960s, Spokane’s civic leaders were desperately looking for a way to revitalize a large section of downtown, especially a motley collection of little-used railroad lines and polluted industrial sites along the Spokane River. Their solution was to use the area for Expo ’74, which was billed as the first ecologically themed world’s fair. Critics predicted the project was sure to fail, as Spokane was the smallest city to ever host a world’s fair, but history proved them wrong. From the minute the gates opened on May 4, 1974, the crowds loved the fair. Hosting 5.4 million visitors, with participation from several major companies and countries, Expo ’74 was a success. As planned, it launched a rebirth along the river that left a permanent legacy, the popular Riverfront Park.

Here's my newest book. Expo '74 defied all odds to become a very successful world's fair. It was a lot of fun researching the years of effort needed to pull off this international event. It will be released on February 13, 2017. I'll post purchase links when they become available.



Montreal's Expo 67 (English)

Montreal's Expo 67 (2016)

In 1967, Canada celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding with a spectacular party, and the whole world was invited. Montreal's Expo 67 was the first world's fair held in Canada, and it was a huge success, attracting over 50 million visitors. The 1,000-acre site was built on two man-made islands in the St. Lawrence River and incorporated 90 futuristic pavilions created by some of the world's greatest architects and designers. Over 60 countries were represented, along with many private, corporate and thematic pavilions, all brought together under the theme "Man and his World." With performers and entertainers of all varieties, restaurants, cultural attractions, exhibitions and a world-class amusement park, Expo 67 was literally the party of the century, exceeding all expectations.

Expo 67 was simply one of the most fantastic events ever staged. It was so popular that it defied all odds and stayed open for many years as "Man and His World," making it the longest run of any world's fair. The book was released on October 17, 2016.

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Montreal's Expo 67 (French)

Montreal's Expo 67 - French edition (2016)

En 1967, le Canada fêtait le centième anniversaire de son existence avec une fête spectaculaire, et tout le monde a été invité. L’Expo 67 de Montréal était la première exposition internationale à avoir lieu au Canada et c’était une grande réussite, qui a attiré plus de 50 millions de visiteurs. Le site de 405 hectares a été construit sur deux îles artificielles dans le fleuve Saint-Laurent et incorporait 90 pavillons d’aspects futuristes, créés par les meilleurs architectes et concepteurs dans le monde. Plus de 60 pays y ont été représentés ainsi que des pavillons privés, corporatifs et thématiques. Tous ont fait partie du thème « Terre des Hommes ». Avec des artistes de tous les secteurs, des restaurants, des attractions culturelles, des expositions et un parc d’amusement de classe internationale, l’Expo 67 était en réalité la fête du siècle et elle a dépassé toutes les attentes.

This book marks the first Arcadia foreign language edition. The book was released on October 17, 2016.

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New Orleans postcards

Postcards of America: The 1984 New Orleans World's Fair (2009)

In this collection of vintage-photograph postcards, Bill Cotter explores the fair’s past.

Released in conjunction with the Images of America book, this set of 15 postcards features some of the best views of the fair. Published by Arcadia Publishing as part of their "Images of America" series.

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New Orleans postcards

Postcards of America: Spokane's Expo '74 (2017)

In this collection of vintage-photograph postcards, Bill Cotter explores the fair’s past.

Released in conjunction with the Images of Modern America book, this set of 15 postcards features some of the best views of the fair. Published by Arcadia Publishing as part of their "Images of Modern America" series. The cards will be released on February 13, 2017. I'll post purchase links when they become available.



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